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AHS opens pop-up COVID-19 assessment site in Banff this weekend

“With an increase in COVID-19 cases, including the more contagious variant strains, local residents with symptoms and those who have been in close contact with a suspect or confirmed case are strongly encouraged to book a quick, free appointment this weekend."

BANFF – A pop-up COVID-19 assessment site will be open this weekend in Banff.

In a release, Alberta Health Services said the temporary site was opening due to the growing number of positive cases in the region.

“With an increase in COVID-19 cases, including the more contagious variant strains, local residents with symptoms and those who have been in close contact with a suspect or confirmed case are strongly encouraged to book a quick, free appointment this weekend,” the release stated.

The site will run at the AHS Community Health Centre at 303 Lynx St. in Banff in the west corner of the parking lot. It will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The release noted it can accommodate up to 100 appointments a day.

The AHS is asking any person going to the site to have their Alberta health card and photo identification with them. People are also required to wear a face mask and use hand sanitizer.

Earlier in the week, the Town of Banff lobbied the province for a site to do mass vaccinations as positive tests in the Bow Valley have climbed. The AHS also did on-site testing at Sunshine Village and Lake Louise ski hills.

Banff’s Emergency Coordination Centre has been pushing for more vaccines to reach the valley after the popular tourism location have seen COVID-19 cases steadily mount. The Town already offers isolation rooms at the Banff YWCA and at The Banff Centre.

As of Friday, there were 78 confirmed cases in the Banff and Lake Louise area, 179 in Rocky View County, 49 in Canmore and seven in the MD of Bighorn, including parts of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Nearby Cochrane also had 113 active cases.

The province reported 1,521 new cases on Friday - including 674 variants - along with 333 people in the hospital, 83 in intensive care and a total of 2,007 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of new cases was the highest since mid-December.

Alberta has seen 804,475 vaccines administered, with 153,794 fully vaccinated, but has 13,059 active cases.

The release said the Community Health Centre will not be open for testing, but will be open for pre-booked appointments on Monday.

“Please do your part in helping keep our community as safe as possible. It is vitally important for all of us to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and to follow public health guidelines at all times,” the release stated. “This includes limiting contacts to your cohorts, avoiding indoor gatherings, maintaining physical distancing and masking.”

People have to schedule appointments at the pop-up assessment site by calling 811 or the online AHS website at: www.albertahealthservices.ca/topics/Page17058.aspx

- With files from Cathy Ellis